Canada, New York, San Francisco

Canada Travel Blog

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Dear people,

Usually I don't write about my trips, and now I know why. Bloody, it takes FOREVER! I probably will never again - not after the fact anyway, and not for such a long trip. And they're mostly just excerpts from xanga entries or my travel journal. And I thought I was being concise; this is supposed to be the abbreviated version, with a few snapshots! If you feel I haven't sufficiently barfed all over you computer at this point, feel free to come over and get the unedited version in person, photo albums and all :)

In short, this is what I did this summer:

Penticton BC

Penticton BC

July 1: Canada Day, marked the start of our 2+month trip across Canada for Sara and I. For everyone else, it was a 3 day getaway. Penticton was blazing hot, and packed full of blazing hot activities: cherry picking, tubing down the channel, beaching, wine tasting, hot tubbing, patio bbqs, getting sunburned, getting locked out, a lot of chilling, and a dash of fireworks.

We drove back to Vancouver with the rest of the gang. When we got into city, the air was distinctly garbag-ier than in the Interior. Sara crashed at my place for the night, and caught an early flight to Sandspit the next morning. We both used our parents' Airmiles to fly up to Sandspit (Queen Charlotte Islands), and down into Castlegar (Nelson) later. I booked too late, and planned to fly out the following day, and meet up with her in Sandspit. I spent the day in Vancouver, madly running around picking up last minute things, finding places to stay, and planning New York with Carol and Eunice. Sara spent the day beachcombing with a quiet girl from China, and spent the night with a fishing family in Sandspit.

July 5: 6:25am, B19 Departure Gate, YVR, Richmond BC.
This is quite possibly the furthest possible departure gate from the entrance... All is well, besides the fact that I'm disgustingly sick.

Sandspit, Queen Charlotte City, Tlell, Port Clements, Masset, Old Masset, Skidegate BC

Sandspit BC

It was a stunning flight, and a perfectly clear day. As we were landing, out my window I saw clear blue-aqua water, white-yellow stretches of sand, a lush green rainforest, snowcapped mountains behind it all. All in one frame... camera, where were you?! The picture will haunt me for a very long time. The novelty of stepping off a plane, and onto the tarmac, surrounded by nothingness, as opposed to stepping into a giant airport, hasn't worn off yet :)

Sandspit BC

We caught a shuttle and a ferry to Queen Charlotte City, where we were staying. On the ferry ride over, we met Maud, a doctor studying in France. She was staying there with a family for a month, then traveling to Vancouver, and Montreal with them the following month. Paid travel (clean, paint the house, and teach the kids French), free accommodations - pretty good deal eh. Seeing as the city was only a few blocks, we lived relatively close by, and made plans to explore the islands together the next couple of days.

11:25pm. Room 11, Premier Creek Lodge, Queen Charlotte City BC.
6 degrees of separation: The kids from the family Maud's staying with are in the soccer camp run by the Mexican siblings staying in the hostel here. Because they've booked up the hostel, we got this room with a kitchen for the same price as the hostel! Sweet deal.

Also because the kids were in the camp, Maud had time to spare to explore with us. Hello small town. The woman running the lodge/hostel was silly scatterbrained and kept losing her neighbour's dog. We arrived to this little poodle shitzu, Bobby, crossing the highway, back and forth by itself. We commented to her, how smart the dogs here are, crossing the street by themselves, and she replied, "Oh my god!" and dashed out to fetch the dog. 5 minutes later, it would be in the back, running around with the hen and ducks, and she would be running around the hostel chasing it.

This is view across the street, where we were staying.

Queen Charlotte BC

This is the the lodge/hostel's backyard.

Queen Charlotte BC

Queen Charlotte BC

After a few hours of exploring the town, Sara and I began to recognize everyone. Everyone seemed to be either from her flight, or my flight. "Oh, she sat infront me me! Oh, and there's that couple staying with us again..."


Queen Charlotte BC

Queen Charlotte BC

We stocked up on groceries and took full advantage of our kitchen. Making vegetable stir fry, avocado salad, and other ridiculously heathly things. The only 'bad' thing is, I picked up Sara's coffee addiction - starting every single day with heaps of coffee.

Queen Charlotte BC

July 6, 11:25pm.
Today kicked off at 8:30, had oatmeal, then we headed out in our fabulous rental! On the drive to Massett, Tlell, Port Clements.

We met a crazy Acadian francophone in Port Clements, and met 2 ladies who spoke Quebecois French in Massett. Met a man from Surrey who told us about the brothers who died in a plane crash. This started off the string of stories of bad luck I'd be hearing the rest of the day: the white raven that got electrocuted by a telephone wire, the golden spruce getting chopped down by an angry activist/ranger, the longhouse and totem pole getting burned down by a stovetop... Here, below, is the grafted golden spruce they are trying to regrow.

Queen Charlotte BC

Queen Charlotte BC

Natures' bubblewrap!

Tow Hill BC

Skidegate BC

Queen Charlotte BC

The spectacular vernacular at the Port Clements Museum, heart!

Port Clements BC

Taxidermied electrocuted white raven:

Port Clements BC

The burned totem and longhouse where I bought rub on tattoos of ravens.

Port Clements BC

Port Clements BC

What's a trip to the Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Islands without a little totem hunting eh...

Masset BC

Maud: "What is brake?"

Massett BC

Respect the damn deer signs and speed limits, people! They are fast! We nearly ran one over. Also, to the rest of North America? Please make note of the handy little hitchhiking bench.

Masset BC

On a clear day, we were told we could see Alaska from North Beach. It wasn't a clear day. On our way there, we stopped by Tow Hill and middle of nowhere shops and cafes ....

Masset BC

Tow Hill BC

Tow Hill BC

Masset BC

... we ate supper along the beach too. On our drive back, we saw over two dozen deer, probably! I'm already on roll 5 on Day 2! Well hopefully I'll ease up soon. ...Nothing much after, we watched the news and Fresh Prince (yea!)

Massett BC

July 7, 6:55pm.
Sara and I may be ovulating at the same time, this means I might be getting my period some time. (I didn't; 8 months and counting...) First, we noticed the cute grocery guy, then yesterday we saw a cute construction guy in Massett. Today, when we went to return the car, Maude and I were like, cute rental guy! Ok, she wouldn't exclaim, "cute!" - well she did, but at deer and babies, not at men. Anyway, cute rental car guy gave us a lift back, we ate some oatmeal, made coffee, and packed fruits, and cheese sandwiches for today's hike. Then we hitchhiked to Skidegate. That's right! We got picked up in about a minute by the third car.

Very tree-y...
Queen Charlotte BC

Skidegate BC

...stopping at the beach to eat in the freezing wind and rain. That was pretty fantastic eating carrots in the rain with our hoods and sunglasses on.

Skidegate BC

*sidetrack (Sara's doing her journal, reminding me of stuff): We walked beneath a bridge and the cedar had coloured the water and stones all red.

I like totems with bear eating people.

The Skidgate museum was still under construction, and may be home to some ECI students in the future. The tour was informative, but strange with Mariah Carey blasting from the construction site. We hitchhiked back with a fisherman.

Said he was going fishing tomorrow - so if the weather picks up we may have just scored ourselves a free fishing tour! Sweet deal indeed.

Skidegate BC

Skidegate BC
credit: Sara-Michele's photo

9:30pm. Its super blustery and wet out, so think we're calling it a night. Watched part of Closer, made a tofu/onion snack, did another load of laundry... I'm sitting here in my cute little room reading 100 Years of Solitude, listening to the pitter patter of the rain, window looking out to the "edge of the world"; this is pretty fantastic.

Queen Charlotte BC

Queen Charlotte BC

Queen Charlotte BC

July 8. Today we went fishing all day but we didn't catch any fish with Andy (possibly QCC's mayor + David Suzuki's best friend). We came back and had a few drinks, and may have traumatized kids at the park. We climbed a fence, climbed around some rocks, and climbed the fence again. Yes. Chilled outside... PS. SFU was in a porno on Showcase! PPS. I have a fishing license!! I'm cool!

Bringing women fishing apparently is bad luck, and the storm the night before stirred things up apparently. Our boat's motor died, and the Coast Guard was going to come out to get us, but Andy fixed it. It was pissing rain half the day, but we made it out to the Pacific, and for a little while nothing but water was between us and Hawaii, Australia, and Asia.

Running around in my pj shorts in the freezing cold at 2am:

Queen Charlotte BC

July 9.
Queen Charlotte BC

Queen Charlotte BC

I think this is slate? (So says Daniela, a geologist we stayed with in Calgary) It was really brittle, and shattered into slabs really easily. It was soft enough that you could write with it too.

Queen Charlotte BC

Queen Charlotte BC

<paste>: There were no balls at the park so we tossed shoes, and rope around.

July 10. 1:30am.
Came back from Maude's place. Goodbye party.

I saw Bobby out from the window and got distracted while brushing my teeth and burned my toast twice. At 10:30am, Lorna got us to move to the hostel in a hurry. Ag! Mess. Then we headed out to hike Sleeping Beauty.

Oh Sleeping Beauty. The mother hike of the trip. The hike itself was not long at all, about 2 or 3 km, but it was steep. It felt like 10 km. We tried to hitchhike there, but there was zero traffic, so we ended up walking 8-10 km before a park ranger picked us up. He had his granddaughter's little poodle that sat with him, and it kept falling out the window everytime we hit a pothole. It was an alarming kind of funny. We didn't make it all the way up there because I wanted to avoid the 'self resuce' area, and make sure we got back before dark if we weren't able to catch a ride - seeing as we hadn't seen anyone on the mountain. We ended up walking about another 10-12 km before a guy picked us up, and took us to town. PAIN. Our joints still hurt days later. Stayed in the hostel our last night. Met some 50 something soul searching "boys".

Mount Genevieve BC

Mount Genevieve BC

YVR, Castlegar, Nelson BC

July 11: YVR (stopover) Gate B19. 1 :45pm
Shuttle, ferry, flight. ... Gave Olive my stuff. Bought Vancouver postcards + squid. To Castlegar/Nelson! Ciao!

Richmond BC

Castlegar BC

Castlegar BC

Flight to Castlegar was beautiful, going through the Kootney mountains. ...In Nelson, this old raisin of a guy picked us up. We figured we could take him on if need be...

We had just got off the Greyhound, and started towards our hostel, probably a good 30 minute walk away, and this guy in his old beat up car slows down and he barks out, "You wanna ride?" We look at each other warily, and he goes, "It's okay! It's okay!" Sara and I look at each other kind of amused, well if he says it's okay, we shrugged, and hopped in. I gave the slightly bewildered bystandsters a knowing look, kind of like, remember us, if you read about our freak accidents tomorrow in the paper.

We got to the hostel and met another French guy: Laurent. We made dinner, met Young Shy Quiet guy, and offered him some of our dinner (he was looking rather malnourished).

<paste>: Met another two Canadian francophones at the hostel, (one said Sara and I are opposite but complimentary signs) making our total close to a dozen francophones in BC.

We headed out to a pub after w/ Laurent. YSG (Young Shy Guy) said he was underage - 16! I drank too much. $2! and Laurent just kept going. We headed down to the water to chill (I really had to pee now)

July 12. Room 12, Dancing Bear Inn, Nelson BC.
Laurent find us a ride w/ Graham (London guy in shippin/ports/cruises/etc. business) to go kayaking. ...Crazy British lady/instructor screaming at us: "I said left! Left! Not right! Did you got go school?! No one listens to me!" Oh yes, good times. ... Headed out for pizza and beer at a pub w/ Graham + Laurent.

Graham begins offering his thoughts: I am Sara's guru, I will go into insurance, and I'm a horse person. He tells us about his travels, Laurent says nothing even though he's traveled to equally exotic places. Sara decides she hates Graham.

Back at the hostel, we play "asshole" and VSG joins us, who is less shy now, yay! It's too bad we're all going now... The guys are headed back to Vancouver, then home.

July 13. Having coffee and brunch, and collective poetry and drawing sessions...

"Cheese is cheese, as the small is not. Not is large.
When we time intangible, we calculate emptiness. Kings will birth over deaths. Skies heavy as Queens love gravities.
Oh! Can thou frolick even when cheese is virtual? Cheese will be source sterile.
Where size provokes; mass money translates."

Oh my profoundness! Ye-ah. You should try to read the ones where we alternated languages: French/English, and Chinese/French.

Nelson BC

8:40pm, Greyhound Nelson-Calgary.
So begins the night on the Greyhound. We chilled in Nelson today - shopped art ( I'm having some pieces getting shipped home, excitement!), bought more apples, etc. Went back to the hostel, ate, chatted w/ lady from Regina about art/cities/etc.

Fort Macleod AB

Nelson BC

DSC00211.JPG

DSC00216.JPG

Fort Macleaod AB

July 14. 6:05am Alberta Time. On Greyhound past Fort McLeod. Gas is 103.9

Calgary, Banff, Lake Louise AB

<paste>: in calgarz right now. iäm crayz tired from last night. (donät mind the crayz tzping, the computer is set to german and i donät watn to mess around with their stuff) bus ride was fine ...our hosts here in calgarz are the sweetest couple. thez gave us rodeo-stampede tickets for odaz, which normallz cost 50 bucsk each. so weäre off to the rodeo now. ciao!

Cowboy hats everywhere; its like Christmas. The storefronts are all painted with Stampede motifs.

Calgary AB

Calgary AB

Rodeo was fun but felt a little wrong. ... We chilled/slept outside the sports complex outside the Stampede after wandering about. Then we went to LD cause I got pink eye. Then we headed back to the Stampede for some OLP! (OLP! OLP! OLP!) The crowd was stupid crowded. Stupid and crowded I should say.

Calgary AB

Calgary AB

July 15. Downtown. Chinatown. Really Bad Transit. Boringness.

Calgary AB

<paste>: we hung out with daniela and dave and daveäs friends bdaz partzthe other night. attractive, articulate, charming, conservative kids. set to run the world. them alberta seperatists. good times. oh but the people weäre stazing with are super super sweet, prettz liberal iäm sure to have strangers staz with them.

July 16: We went to Banff+Lake Louise. Sara lost her camera. We hitchhiked. Hotsprings sucked. We saw Laurent at the Greyhound. Long day 5am-1am. Greyhound smelled like poo.

Sara's convinced Laurent's appearance was no coincidence, I'm suspicious as well. This here is the sulphur hot springs, Sara said she felt tremendously deceived. Not really worth the $7 dip.

Banff AB

We're sitting in the Fairmont, feeling completely helpless as Sara has just lost her camera, and hundreds of her photos...

Lake Louise AB

Lake Louise AB

Lake Louise AB

July 17: Today we left Calgary and bought Daniela and Dave some Merlot. I feel silly constantly buying them stuff like beer and Pocky, but we hardly saw/talked to them in those 4 days. Laundry. Groceries. Sara went to the museum. I visit ACAD.

Calgary AB

Greyhound now. Met Dusty + Phil! They have compiled a long list of movies I have to see: Scarface, Team America, Braveheart, Legends of the Fall, Mothman Prophecies, Sleepers, Fight Club, Monsters Ball, C.R.A.Z.Y., Enemy of the Gate, Jacob's Ladder, Monster, Y Tu Mama Te Bien, Wrong Turn, Donnie Rascal, The Score, Usual Suspects, Rounders, Cube, For the Love of the Game, Mermaid, Anastasia, Pulp Fiction, Good Ideas, Reservoir Dogs, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, American Beauty, Lort of War, City of God, Breakfast Club, History of Violence, Romeo and Juliet, Clockwork Orange, Planet of the Apes...

Not compiled by guys at all, haha. He was really sweet...

7:40pm. I hope Dusty found his dad cause I think he got off at the wrong stop...

July 18: We decide not to stay in Regina, chugging along now.

SaskTel!
Regina SK

Winnipeg MB

We said bye to Phil as we landed in Winnipeg. He scored a flight out of Winnipeg. Poor guy, otherwise a grueling Calgary-Sudbury (60 hour) trip. He said he would have bought the Discovery Pass and joined us on our trip had he known he would meet such cool chicks on the bus. Smile and nod. He invited us to his hotel to chill, but Sara was eagar to get to Julie's, her friend we're staying with. We saw 'Thumbsuckers' at Julie's that night.

Winnipeg MB

July 19.
<paste>: a big hello from winnipeg! ... saraès friend works at theatre in the cemetry (the equivalent to TUTS in vancouver) and wère checking it out now, twice! once in french and english.

Winnipeg MB

The play was about Louis Reil. Gab, one of the actors has this awesome "Keepin' it Riel" pin.
Chilling by the Forks after the shows...

Winnipeg MB

3:30am. We were out w/ Julie's castmates and friends. My poor liver, oi!

July 20.
Today we went to the Salsbury House for lunch - bah! It was ridiculously awful! Took 25 mins for my omelette to come. Food was awful. They forgot my toast. 25 mins later we canceled the toast and Sara's hot choolate. Or we tried to, our server had disappeared at that point. We think maybe she quit because no one could find her.

Took the bus-boat-ferry to the 'Ledge' (Parliament):

Winnipeg MB

Shopping on Osbourne St. I have a new appreciation for our whale and bear statues around the city...

Winnipeg MB

We caught a show at the Fringe Festival with the cast, and went for drinks after.

July 21: We went to Patricia Beach but it got stormy pretty quick so we got going. I napped and Sara played Jazzball, and Julie got a threatening phonecall from her uncle's girlfriend, and then she went to work. ...we saw their other play about the devil and a flying canoe (bilingual!) Then we went out for food and a drink.

Winnipeg MB

<paste>: oh winnipeg... it looks like the middle of the country, but its more like a third of the way across in greyhound time...

winnipeg has been tiring. tiring in that everyday is similar; we go see plays and go for beers with the same cast and same pub every day, stay in the same place but mostly because everyone is a francophone. i donèt want people to have to change to english and cater to me, the lone anglophone, but otherwise, i donèt understand a thing.

...we were in shock when we saw the license plates read friendly manitoba.

Winnipeg MB

July 22. Julie feeds us a hangover breakfast at a greasy spoon before we head off on our 30 hour ride to Toronto.

"-ostie qu'y fait frette/chaud (fuck it's cold/hot)
-ou est-ce que je peux prendre l'autobus? (where can I take the bus?)"

We met this 8 year old girl, Desiree, and her 1 year old sister on the bus. she's so sweet; she drew us pictures, and we played hangman, and she wrote:"I MIGHT 2 NEW BEST FRIENDS. SARA AND JENNIFER."

Thunder Bay ON, described in Lonely Planet as an "unlikely urban mess":

Thunder Bay ON

Sault Ste. Marie ON

July 23. We said bye to Desiree and her family, and gave her our emails and addresses so she could write us. We decided to get off after 20 hours, and explore a bit. Not much was happening given it was a Sunday… and that it was Sault Ste. Marie. Sara replaced her camera for $150 at the mall, a great deal, but she’s still mourning the loss of her pictures, so it will be a little while before we’re excited about photographing again. A couple at the Tim Horton’s asked if I was from China, when I said I was traveling. Welcome to small town suburbia!

Sault Ste Marie ON

Sudbury ON

We play a little midnight mini golf during our stopover in Sudbury just cause it was open.

Sudbury ON

Sudbury ON

Niagara Falls ON

July 24. <paste>: niagara falls was niagara falls.
Canada’s Vegas/Disneyland/etc. (Alec Soth’s Niagara series)

Niagara Falls ON

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls ON

Niagara Falls ON

Sara leaves for St. Albert’s for a friend’s wedding, and I head to Toronto after. My very informative, very clean, and a little flamboyant host, Andrew shows me, what feels like, every touristy thing to see during our evening power walk through downtown Toronto. He’s quitting his desk job this week, and is going to become a Greyhound bus driver, which is apparently quite lucrative.

Toronto ON

Toronto ON

July 25. Andrew gets up at 5am and leaves me to explore Toronto. It never occurred to me Toronto was Ontario’s capital even after I went on a tour at the Parliament. I went for dinner with my cousin Mimi, and her husband Jim. They’ve known each other since grade 5, aw! She’s super cool: she does exhibition design. Commiserated about our old school dads. She brought up Douglas Coupland’s newest book, and strangely I had bought them a copy of his City of Glass. We talked about how to quantify art, her architectural thesis, etc. I was thrilled, she's family!

Toronto ON

We chill on their rooftop loft apartment with their crazy little dog. <paste>: Housing is DIRT CHEAP compared to Vancouver, and they live on essentially Yonge and Dundas - like Robson and Granville.

Toronto ON

July 26. Went to little galleries and shops with Michael, German guy staying at Andrew’s. Toronto’s trying to go through a cultural renaissance… trying. Visited OCAD. Chilled at the apartment; a rare moment of internet, laundry, food to myself. Went to the AGO in the evening.

Toronto ON

Toronto ON

Ottawa, St. Albert's ON

July 27. Met up with Sara in Ottawa. We went to UofO, where Sara hid from physicists. Went to the National Gallery. Stargazing on Sara’s patio, in St. Albert’s, the Kingdom of Cheese.

St. Albert's ON

July 28. Sara’s mom took us to a little organic farm in the morning, then headed out to Ottawa to meet up with Serge, Sara’s stepdad, and Pete, her step brother we’re staying with in Halifax.

St. Albert's On

St. Albert's ON

Serge introduced us to Jean-Marc Carisse, Chretien, Turner, and Trudeau’s official photographer, who took us to his studio and photographed us. He was fantastic ? He’s photographed everyone, from Bob Dylan to Fidel Castro. I went to a few more little galleries, while they ate. Serge drove us around, and gave us the grand Political Tour, where all the ambassadors, and important figures lived. This is where the Adobe guy lives �" in a copper house with a white Lamborghini parked in the driveway. Yup.

Ottawa ON

We make pasta, sip wine and star gaze on the patio.

St. Albert's ON

Montreal QC

July 29. Emilie comes over in the morning, to go apartment hunting in Montreal. Sara’s mom’s driving everyone to Montreal. No time for poutine with real curds, sad! Unpack at Karen’s, meet Jason (Bambi) and Rachel (Cornell PhD Prof); her Trekkie roomies. Dinner at Le Commensal �" a fantastic vegetarian buffet.
The following days blur together. It was very much a vacation in the city of indulgence. All that shopping, eating out, and hanging out.

Montreal QC

Fireworks finale with Ciscos’ coworkers.

Montreal QC

Public plastic sword fights, Tam-Tam’s.

Montreal QC

Montreal QC

Jean Talon Market: good food + good prices = good dinner

Montreal QC

<paste>: biodome was lame.

Montreal QC

<paste>: dinner with physicists and engineers, pub, pool with physics potheads, stayed at Cisco's. "after 15 shots, we should be on the floor! what is this!"

Montreal QC

<paste>: endured 35 degree weather, with humidity felt like 45 degrees.

the contemporary gallery did not disappoint. i remember it was the highlight of my trip last time i came - i became acquainted with ed burtynsky. emote. it was worth seeing the brian jungen show again.

Montreal QC

<paste>: i am in love with the library here.

Montreal QC

<paste>: Last day in Montreal; last latte from rich law kids' beautiful espresso machine, sadness. (I just spilled mine all over the stove). I'm going to miss Montreal a lot. It's been a lotta fun. I'd move here only if I learned French, which is not happening anytime super soon. …Yesterday, I did the final Montreal touristy things: the ports (meh), the vieux (been before; same old), more grande bibliotheque national (reason alone for me to learn french), more shopping (i am buying too much black. But salesgirl gave me a lot of discounts), more eating out (totally blowing our budget here on food), a strip club for ladies (campy fun) and a poutine (should have had it in st-alberts instead). … We're just swimming, cooking, chilling and reading on the patio today. Tomorrow or maybe tonight, we're climbing aboard the bus again, and then we're off the Quebec City.

Montreal QC

Ste-Foy, Quebec City QC

August 6. We leave for Quebec City. We arrive in Ste. Foy to an empty apartment - house squatting time! We came prepared with sleeping bags. We hide our backpacks in the closet in case buyers show up. This is the ‘furnished’ room with a light, tv, and phone. Sara’s calling her mom trying to figure out how to get the water running here…

Ste-Foy QC

I was warned by Sara there’s a lot of antagonism towards Anglophones here but Sara’s mom reassures me that its not true. I order my un petit cafe in French anyway.

Quebec City QC

Quebec City QC

Quebec City QC

Quebec City QC

<paste>: lineup twice for best crepes ever!

Quebec QC

August 7. Day is spent on the bus. Since we left Montreal, there has been a very significant upgrade in the busses. They’re luxury with their electrical outlets, food trays, cup holders, magazine holders, hooks and foot rests, in contrast to Greyhounds where only foot rests are staples. The AC is just right too. The clientele is a little older, and mellower which is nice too.

Met Marc-Antoine, a student/lifeguard from Moncton, who offered Acadian francophone background info, and pointed out good spots to check out, none of which we did cause they all were too expensive or impossible to get to without a car.

Halifax NS

Halifax NS, Charlottetown, Cavendish PEI

We arrive at Pete’s place around midnight, which is hopping with people: his 3 roomies, a couple of extenants who haven’t moved out yet, a few friends, and a traveling band crashing with him for a few days… plus us = full house! We became acquainted with the Grey Water System: <paste>: they've detached something so that the toilet tank doesn't refill automatically, they've removed the pipe below the sink so that it collects in a bucket so you can reuse it for the toilet, shower and bath water stays in the tub so same thing, scoop it up for the toilet, and there's no shower curtain. and the if its yellow let it mellow, if its brown flush it down attitude towards the toilet. i think it'd be ok if it were only 3 or so people living there, but with the extenants not moved out yet, and the band; its a bit much.

Halifax NS

August 8. Pete walked us around downtown Halifax, and pointed me to NSCAD, where he might go for painting. I have now been to all 4 of Canada’s sister art schools: ECIAD, ACAD, OCAD, and NSCAD. Sara and I have been trying to hit up all the MEC’s across Canada too. We missed Winnipeg, and Toronto I think. Signed up for a Halifax library card, checked out zine library where Pete is god, chilled at the house, picked up hitchhiking and freight train hopping tips.

Halifax NS

Halifax NS

August 9. Woke up at 5:50am to catch 7:15am bus to Charlottetown. Arrived at 1:00pm. Crossed Confederation Bridge. Fell in love; we were charmed right out of our pants! Saw a few free outdoor shows (One Night Band was fun) We stay at a nice old couple’s place for $15/night. House smelled like cheese. We decide to stay another night as I couldn’t find a cheap flight off St. John’s NFLD to get to NYC in time.

Charlottetown PEI

Charlottetown PEI

August 10. Took a shuttle to Cavendish to see the red sand dunes and Anne of Green Gables House, and the writer's grave. sara headed straight for upei, and tried to transfer but then remembered she had free tuition at uofo.

Charlottetown PEI

Cavendish PEI

Cavendish PEI

Cavendish PEI

Cavendish PEI

Cavendish PEI

Had Cow’s ice cream which started in Cavendish PEI.

Charlottetown PEI

August 11. Mr. Gallant drove us to the bus depot, but didn’t wake up till 7:20am, and we didn’t know what to do cause he can’t hear a THING: knocking, phone call, etc. and it seemed strange to go into his room to wake him up. Poor guy, taking care of his wife in a wheelchair, driving guests around town at odd hours and picking and dropping them off at the bus depot daily.

Met a lady from St. John on the bus, who gave me the lowdown on the Maritimes. How backwards and conservative it still is regarding women, schooling, family, work, etc. Aside from the birthday boy from Calgary, his girlfriend and Graham (Brit we met in Nelson), everyone we’ve met has been quite liberal, and anti Bush/Harper. I know we have a slightly skewed perspective, but still…

The guy in Calgary (Alberta Separatist) argued we’re FUNDAMENTALLY different from Americans, which I found difficult to agree with at first, but ... I don’t know.

Halifax NS

August 12. After a day of chilling in Halifax, saw some good street acts, got the house a chocolate cake, we left for Montreal/Ottawa in the morning. Had breakfast with Pete + Judy.

Martimes Sunset

Montreal QC

August 13. Sara goes home to St.Albert’s/Ottawa, and I show up at Karen’s doorstep at 6:30am after an 18+ hour bus ride. Nola, Karen and I shop and eat. (So back in Montreal) We watch Bon Cop Bad Cop, a bilingual Quebecois federalist comedy, hahaha.

I check out a few more galleries, catch up on errands, chill, watch Ali G with her roommates the next couple of days.

Birthday dinner with Sara, Karen and Jason at a Tibetan restaurant.

Montreal QC

August 16. (22! And THANKS everyone for all the fantastic birthday stuff. I laugh every time I use my soap scented soap) I leave Montreal early. Everyone is still sleeping, so no proper goodbyes, sad. I arrive at Berri Uqam around 6:45am, and start lining up. A lot of confusion about my pass on both the Canadian and American sides results in me lining up 3 times, and the last on the bus. Definite shift in drivers, customers, and bus (American vs Canadian Greyhounds).

New Jersey NJ

Meet 24 year old newly immigrated girl on the bus. We share stories in broken English-Cantonese-Mandarin. She works at a Chinese buffet in NY, and only gets paid tips, and her boss is totally screwing her over. I try to tell her she can get help, but I don’t know think she understood.

New York NY

Our bus arrives in New York at 5:30pm, an hour late. I am completely overwhelmed as the Chinese buffet girl hurries me onto the subway. I call Evan, the guy I’m staying with, and wait for him to find me.

I meet a girl from Texas at Starbucks, also overwhelmed and seeking respite. She’s been walking 50+ blocks instead of taking the subway, because it’s too strange for her; she says only the really poor people take the subway at home... She’s sweet, she means well... but wow.

Evan arrives, suit and tie and all. We head for his frat house in Greenwich Village. I meet two of his frat buddies. They remind me of 25th Hour characters, talking shit, and talking stocks - good guys. I'm amused.

Now I am at Howard Beach waiting for Kat. Go me for taking the subway across Manhattan by myself at 1030pm my first night in NYC.

August 17. Took the subway a lot. Uptown. Downtown. Evan’s laptop goes missing, ah! :( :( I heart NY tees. Kat and I see Stomp. Evan finds his laptop, yay! :) :)

New York NY

New York NY

August 18. Wander Greenwich and Soho. Apple Store. Shandi from ANTM sighting. Met Australian guy staying with Evan. Met Claudio, a Swiss firefighter traveling around the world, also staying with Evan. Made spaghetti dinner for Evan. Claudio shows us his Canadian slideshow. We walk along the Hudson River with the guys. Kat makes comments. We meet Evan’s friendly giant of a friend. Kat makes more comments.

August 19. Evan takes us up to the rooftop for some pictures. Very reminiscent of last year with Alexx. We wander Broadway. Backpack gets searched. Say goodbye, and key swap with Claudio at Times Square. Meet up with the girls at Regency Inn.

New York NY

New York NY

New York NY

August 20. Laundry. Slowly make our way to the Rockefeller Centre/Radio City. Ride 5 people bike at Times Square. Crazy fun, screamin good time :D Kat gets some action. Take guy’s number. Anna’s in Sephora heaven. Attempt to make spaghetti in coffee maker.

August 21. Chinatown, girls go on illegal purse hunt. Soho. Bryant Park’s Rocky showing. Tres cool. TGIF. Pub/birthday party w/ Evan’s friends. Carol dances with Guinness lover. Meet Nel. Visit Evan’s place with the girls.  Hello again Claudio

August 22. Coney Island + roller coaster. Walked across the Brooklyn Bridge at dusk. World Trade Centre Site. Empire State Building.

New York NY

Coney Island NY

Coney Island NY

Coney Island NY

New York NY

New York NY

New York NY

New York NY

August 23. Got standby Letterman tickets, and made it in! Did Fifth Ave: Tiffany’s, Trump Tower, etc. Saw Beauty and the Beast, Belle was crazy good.

August 24. Did we do Chinatown again today? $1 Chinese food�" fantastic! Saw Mamma Mia. Fun show, but not as impressive vocals as Beauty and the Beast.

August 25. Financial District/Wall St. (teeming with security)/Staten Island Ferry (to see Statue of Liberty on the free), then Guggenhiem (disappointing). Had giant meal for $8.50: pasta, bread, and eggplant lasagna! Eunice is making a mega-scrapbook, ba!

New York NY

New York NY

New York NY
Credit: Anna’s photo

Photo 21

August 26. Central Park and the American Museum of Natural History. Our tour guide was a supremely informed volunteer. went to Bloomingdale’s - expensive! Take Kat to Greyhound to visit her friend in Virginia.

August 27. Shopped. Girls left for the airport. I headed off to Connie’s.

New York NY

August 28. 9:55am.
I found myself sitting on a wet chair in Bryant Park, waiting for the rain the let up, waiting for the International Centre of Photography to open, and waiting for Kat to come back from Virginia. Only the Centre is closed, and it’s raining so hard ink is bleeding all over the pages as I wriinge, and Kat won’t be back for another hour or two. So, seeing as it was, or it was supposed to be, the last day of my trip �" I started writing my concluding remarks about the trip till the rain finally let up, and till Kat showed up, and till I could go into the Centre’s gift store at least.  Beautiful bathrooms at Bryant Park- really.

As we were about to get on the train to JFK, my mom calls and says I’m going to San Francisco when I get home.

New York NY

Richmond BC

A little bit home... (dog show+ mini donuts make my summers go round :) )

Vancouver BC

Vancouver BC

...and then I was off again �" to San Francisco by bus before my pass expired.

Richmond BC

Sept 4. 6:15am Medford, Oregon.
…ride down to San Fran has been fine so far. (Left Vancouver around 2:45pm yesterday) Less than 12 hours to go now. Met a drummer/activist/farmer from Seattle on the way down. He asked a lot of big questions about life, which was a little intimidating, and could have been flaky, but inspiring. We talked a lot about forest farms, and community. Bus arrives early and I meet up with grandma at our very bright, and quaint downtown hotel at 6!

Sausalito, San Francisco CA

Sept 5. …This is fantastic. I’m so relaxed and happy…yesterday I met Austin, a super nice and amazing guy on the Greyhound, coming back from Burning Man (which I have to go to next year!). He was tremendously helpful, and we find ourselves here in Sausalito because of him.

San Francisco CA

Saulsalito CA

We moved to a hotel on Fisherman’s Wharf for the rest of the stay, because it’s less hilly for grandma.

San Francisco CA

San Francisco CA

Sept 6. 3:20pm Dolores Park.
I felt like Austin walked me right through my few days in San Francisco. He pointed me to the perfect spots. He gave me amazing routes, and fantastic destinations. It’s late and I’m running low on adjectives; I’m just alternating between amazing and fantastic. All I want to say is: amazing, amazing, amazing.

San Francisco CA

San Francisco CA

San Francisco CA

Sept 7. Downtown, cable cars, shoes. I decide to leave tonight, because the latest I could stay was till 1pm tomorrow and was the morning worth the cost of the hostel? Maybe. 

Sacramento CA

Sept 8. 10:20am Portland, OR.

Sometime that evening, Vancouver BC. Skytrain home.
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